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Tippin The Scales

Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
By Hank Tippins
Oct 21, 2006, 10:42

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Almost everyone has heard the statement, “complex life forms of today result from evolution. All life began as simple microorganisms, and through millions of years evolved slowly into more complex organisms which eventually led to the first primitive human form.” Does this sound familiar? Of course it does! It is the theory of evolution taken straight from a high school science book. If you went to a public school, chances are that you were taught evolution. But many times school books do not publish this as a theory, but as truth. So long has this claim been perpetuated that many of those in the younger generation dare not challenge it.

However, there has always been a battle of theories accounting, for the origins of life. In the 1920’s it was illegal to teach evolution in public schools. Creationism, which teaches the Biblical account that God created everything including life, had been taught since the institution of American schools. The Supreme Court later declared it lawful to include evolution as an alternative theory. As the years progressed, creationism has been eradicated from virtually all public school texts.

The Conflict
As we are entering a new age of technology, science can now dig deeper, probe further and see more clearly with the use of advanced equipment. One such amazing discovery for instance is the complexity of individual cells.
Once thought to be the simplest building block of life – a sort of blob-like jelly, science has revealed it to be one of the most sophisticated electro-mechanical systems in the universe, incorporating superior design far more advanced and efficient than anything ever made by mankind. Professors have devoted their entire careers to the research of systems within these tiny cells – research that cumulatively uncovers only a slight fraction of the cell’s mystery.

Within the cell, there are thousands of systems that are known as irreducibly complex. This complicated-sounding term simply means that a system is unable to operate its desired function if any piece is missing. A mouse trap is a simple illustration of irreducible complexity. Removing just one piece of the trap – the base, hammer, spring, catch, or holding bar – and the trap wouldn’t work at all. Thousands of other systems in nature are irreducibly complex—and none as simple as our mousetrap example.

Even Darwin himself said in his book, The Origins of Species, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Irreducibly complex systems by definition cannot evolve by numerous small steps because each element must be present at all times. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of components would need to evolve simultaneously for the system to work. Certainly this does not follow Darwin’s theory. If one piece needs years to evolve, the system couldn’t function and therefore wouldn’t be around long enough for it to matter anyway. Something is missing in Darwinian evolution.

The complicated cell, even though it is a major blow to the evolutionary theory, is one of many problems that evolutionists face.

A Growing Concern
Evidentially, many others agree. According to USA today, 400 Ph.D – level scientists recently signed a statement questioning Darwinian evolution. Called the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, it reads, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” This document was signed by professors from distinguished universities such as Yale, Princeton, U.C Berkley, Cambridge, MIT, as well as a Nobel Nominee for Quantum Chemistry and a top researcher at the Smithsonian Institute.

I recently attended a conference at USF called Doctors Who Doubt Darwin which highlighted recent scientific findings conflicting evolution. The event attracted between 3,500 and 4,000 guests and was sponsored by the Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity. Interestingly enough, many professors who are on the forefront of scientific research have concluded that random chance could not account for the complexity found in nature.

One speaker illustrated that if we found a laptop computer on a stump in the forest, we would naturally conclude that it was placed there and had not evolved by chance over time. It would be preposterous to assume that all the precise pieces created themselves and assembled by chance into a complex working machine. However, to use this rationale for the intricate systems in nature has been widely accepted for decades.

Intelligent Design
When the physics of Newton and Galileo replaced the incomplete scientific theories of Aristotle, a new science emerged seeking to explain the world through natural laws. In recent years, a new scientific movement known as Intelligent Design (ID) seeks to explain the apparent gaps in Darwin’s theory by viewing life as a product of an intellectual designer instead of a cosmic accident.

Sounds religious? According to the advocators of ID, their motivation is the pursuit of truth by rigidly following the scientific method – objectively following wherever the evidence leads.

Why wouldn’t we want to admit design into science? What’s wrong with explaining something as designed by an intelligent agent?

In our everyday lives, it is absolutely necessary to distinguish accident from design. We demand answers to questions like, Did she fall or was she pushed? Did he die accidentally or was this suicide? Was someone just lucky on the stock market or have inside information? It makes perfect sense to demand an answer to a larger question. Is life an accident— a hiccup of cosmic activity, or was it intentionally designed?

Why All the Fuss?
Critics of Intelligent Design contend that this movement is purely religious since it infers design by an intelligent agent. Its apparent similarity with the Biblical account of creation causes alarm to evolutionists. Faith, according to critics, should be taught at home or church, but not in public schools. Advocates of ID, however, propose that more faith is required to accept claims of nature creating itself accidentally than is needed to accept design by intelligence.

If mounting evidence points contrary to Darwinian evolution, why not include alternative theories in school textbooks? By nature, education should present any plausible theories including all objective facts and allow students to decide the answer for themselves. Indoctrination, on the other hand, presents only one side and prohibits any other alternative for consideration. Why not let the students debate it?

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© Copyright 2006 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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